SUNY Oneonta senior Norberto Cervantes participated in the NCAA Student Immersion Program from Jan. 10-15.
The NCAA Student Immersion program affords students an opportunity to network with other student-athletes, former Student Immersion Program attendees and NCAA employees.
“This opportunity brought gave me more ideas, helped me make connections, and was an experience like no other. ... The program was informative and fun, and I understood that the staff was there to support us during and afterwards,” Cervantes said via a media release. “I learned the importance of caring for myself while understanding that it is important to never give up no matter what we are involved in.”
“Life is not always fair, and it may be tough, but we all move on and can only hope for the best. Sports may be an important part of our college careers for a small portion of our lives, even if I pursue a career outside of athletics,” he added.
The Student Immersion Program was founded in 2015 by recommendation from the Division III Diversity and Inclusion Working Group. Together, with the Division III governance staff and the NCAA Office of Inclusion the program offered 40 ethnic minority students the opportunity to attend the NCAA convention.
“I (also) learned to set daily and weekly goals and to work towards achieving them. I can then encourage others to do the same,” Cervantes said. “Being a better person in my community and helping others while also focusing on myself, I can build on my own support group while making the connections necessary for my career.”
Students who attend the conference are fully funded, receive DiSC (Dominance, influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness) training, as well as attend welcome and debrief meetings.
“The goal is to build a pipeline of talented ethnic minority candidates, with an interest in Division III coaching and/or administration, in an effort to ultimately diversify the division,” according to the NCAA website.
Cervantes is a member of the SUNY Oneonta men’s track and field program as a thrower.
While competing for the Red Dragons, Cervantes earned 2020 NCAA Indoor All-America honors, four-time All-Conference honors and is a two-time SUNYAC champion.
In 2019, Cervantes was selected as the SUNYAC Male Field Athlete of the Year by the conference’s coaches.
“I am honored to have been a part of this amazing program. I only hope that others will take advantage of these opportunities in the future,” Cervates said.